Remember how the DOT recently awarded Hawaiian Airlines one additional Haneda slot? Yeah, they aren’t too happy about that, so Hawaiian objects the DOT’s decision.
During the last round of Haneda slot allocations, Hawaiian Airlines applied for three additional slots at the sought-after Tokyo airport. However, with only 12 slots to give to 19 applications, the DOT wasn’t going to be able to please everyone. And, having received only one of their requested three, Hawaiian is pretty upset.
Honestly, Hawaiian’s reaction surprises me. I thought they applied for more slots than necessary to increase the likelihood they’d receive at least one or two. But, interestingly enough, that doesn’t appear to be the case. Why? I have no idea.
The competitive landscape for Tokyo – Honolulu travel is seeing drastic change, especially with the addition of three ANA A380s. But, I’m guessing, Hawaiian is banking on Haneda’s proximity to win the fight. That and their joint venture with Japan Airlines.
According to the Pacific Business News, Hawaiian Airlines filed a formal objection with the DOT asking them to reconsider. They even identified two routes they think shouldn’t have been granted additional service. Those two routes are both for LAX, operated by American and United.
Hawaiian’s argument? LAX already has more Haneda slots than Honolulu, despite LAX having a smaller Tokyo market than Honolulu. Of course, American and United aren’t amused with Hawaiian’s objection. Both claim the DOT already considered Hawaiian’s argument during the application process. And, you know what, I have to agree with them. LAX may not have that much demand on their own, but both airlines can feed passengers into and out of their large domestic networks. Hawaiian? Not so much. And, again with the increasing Tokyo – Honolulu competition, giving Hawaiian that many slots is risky.
Hawaiian Objects the DOT’s Decision, Final Thoughts
To be clear, the DOT’s rulings aren’t yet final, and Hawaiian’s objections will be considered when making a final ruling. However, I don’t think awarding extra slots to Hawaiian is a good idea. I can’t even begin to think of how they’d fill that many flights. That is, unless, they planned to operate the majority of the Tokyo – Honolulu flights with joint venture partner Japan Airlines. But, again, even that seems like a longshot to me. Are they banking on the fact that, once the novelty wears out, that demand for ANA’s A380 flight will tank? Is JAL willing to cut all Tokyo to Honolulu flights? Who knows.